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Trevor Noah quotes Showing 1-30 of 348

“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“People love to say, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“Language, even more than color, defines who you are to people.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in life, any choice that I’ve made. But I’m consumed with regret for the things I didn’t do, the choices I didn’t make, the things I didn’t say. We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to. “What if…” “If only…” “I wonder what would have…” You will never, never know, and it will haunt you for the rest of your days.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“Nelson Mandela once said, 'If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.' He was so right. When you make the effort to speak someone else's language, even if it's just basic phrases here and there, you are saying to them, 'I understand that you have a culture and identity that exists beyond me. I see you as a human being”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“If you're Native American and you pray to the wolves, you're a savage. If you're African and you pray to your ancestors, you're a primitive. But when white people pray to a guy who turns water into wine, well, that's just common sense.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“Being chosen is the greatest gift you can give to another human being.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“Trevor, remember a man is not determined by how much he earns. You can still be a man of the house and earn less than your woman. Being a man is not what you have, it's who you are. Being more of a man doesn't mean your woman has to be less than you.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“I was blessed with another trait I inherited from my mother, her ability to forget the pain in life. I remember the thing that caused the trauma, but I don't hold onto the trauma. I never let the memory of something painful prevent me from trying something new. If you think too much about the ass kicking your mom gave you or the ass kicking that life gave you, you’ll stop pushing the boundaries and breaking the rules. It’s better to take it, spend some time crying, then wake up the next day and move on. You’ll have a few bruises and they’ll remind you of what happened and that’s ok. But after a while, the bruises fade and they fade for a reason. Because now, it’s time to get up to some shit again.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“Relationships are built in the silences. You spend time with people, you observe them and interact with them, and you come to know them—and that is what apartheid stole from us: time.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“The first thing I learned about having money was that it gives you choices. People don’t want to be rich. They want to be able to choose. The richer you are, the more choices you have. That is the freedom of money.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“We live in a world where we don’t see the ramifications of what we do to others because we don’t live with them. It would be a whole lot harder for an investment banker to rip off people with subprime mortgages if he actually had to live with the people he was ripping off.
If we could see one another’s pain and empathize with one another, it would never be worth it to us to commit the crimes in the first place.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“The name Hitler does not offend a black South African because Hitler is not the worst thing a black South African can imagine. Every country thinks their history is the most important, and that’s especially true in the West. But if black South Africans could go back in time and kill one person, Cecil Rhodes would come up before Hitler. If people in the Congo could go back in time and kill one person, Belgium’s King Leopold would come way before Hitler. If Native Americans could go back in time and kill one person, it would probably be Christopher Columbus or Andrew Jackson. I”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
“My mom did what school didn't. She taught me how to think.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“Learn from your past and be better because of your past,” she would say, “but don’t cry about your past. Life is full of pain. Let the pain sharpen you, but don’t hold on to it. Don’t be bitter.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“Comfort can be dangerous. Comfort provides a floor but also a ceiling.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“Abel wanted a traditional marriage with a traditional wife. For a long time I wondered why he ever married a woman like my mom in the first place, as she was the opposite of that in every way. If he wanted a woman to bow to him, there were plenty of girls back in Tzaneen being raised solely for that purpose. The way my mother always explained it, the traditional man wants a woman to be subservient, but he never falls in love with subservient women. He’s attracted to independent women. “He’s like an exotic bird collector,” she said. “He only wants a woman who is free because his dream is to put her in a cage.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“Language brings with it an identity and a culture, or at least the perception of it. A shared language says "We're the same." A language barrier says "We're different.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“People thought my mom was crazy. Ice rinks and drive-ins and suburbs, these things were izinto zabelungu -- the things of white people. So many people had internalized the logic of apartheid and made it their own. Why teach a black child white things? Neighbors and relatives used to pester my mom: 'Why do this? Why show him the world when he's never going to leave the ghetto?'

'Because,' she would say, 'even if he never leaves the ghetto, he will know that the ghetto is not the world. If that is all I accomplish, I've done enough.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“But the real world doesn't go away. Racism exists. People are getting hurt. And just because it's not happening to you, doesn't mean it's not happening. And at some point you have to choose; black or white, pick a side. You can try to hide from it. You can say, oh I don't take sides, but at some point, life will force you to pick a side.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“You want to live in a world where someone is good or bad. Where you either hate them or love them. But that's not how people are.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“A dog is a great thing for a kid to have. It's like a bicycle but with emotions.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“People always lecture the poor: “Take responsibility for yourself! Make something of yourself!” But with what raw materials are the poor to make something of themselves? People”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
“The hood made me realise that crime succeeds because crime does the one thing the government doesn’t do: crime cares. Crime is grassroots. Crime looks for the young kids who need support and a lifting hand. Crime offers internship programmes and part-time jobs and opportunities for advancement. Crime gets involved in the community. Crime doesn’t discriminate.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime and Other Stories
“In any society built on institutionalized racism, race mixing doesn't merely challenge the system as unjust, it reveals the system as unsustainable and incoherent. Race mixing proves that races can mix, and in a lot of cases want to mix. Because a mixed person embodies that rebuke to the logic of the system, race mixing becomes a crime worse than treason.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“I became a chameleon. My color didn't change, but I could change your perception of my color. If you spoke Zulu, I replied to you in Zulu. If you spoke to me in Tswana, I replied to you in Tswana. Maybe I didn't look like you, but if I spoke like you, I was you.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“The world doesn’t love you. If the police get you, the police don’t love you. When I beat you, I’m trying to save you. When they beat you, they’re trying to kill you.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“My grandmother always told me that she loved my prayers. She believed my prayers were more powerful, because I prayed in English. Everyone knows that Jesus, who's white, speaks English. The Bible is in English. Yes, the Bible was not written in English, but the Bible came to South Africa in English so to us it's English. Which made my prayers the best prayers because English prayers get answered first. How do we know this? Look at white people. Clearly they're getting through to the right person. Add to that Matthew 19:14. "Suffer little children to come unto me," Jesus said, "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." So if a child is praying in English? To White Jesus? That's a powerful combination right there.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“When you shit, as you first sit down, you’re not fully in the experience yet. You are not yet a shitting person. You’re transitioning from a person about to shit to a person who is shitting. You don’t whip out your smartphone or a newspaper right away. It takes a minute to get the first shit out of the way and get in the zone and get comfortable. Once you reach that moment, that’s when it gets really nice. It’s a powerful experience, shitting. There’s something magical about it, profound even. I think God made humans shit in the way we do because it brings us back down to earth and gives us humility. I don’t care who you are, we all shit the same. Beyoncé shits. The pope shits. The Queen of England shits. When we shit we forget our airs and our graces, we forget how famous or how rich we are. All of that goes away. You”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

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